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Festive risks for pubs and restaurants

At a glance

  • The biggest peak in the year is also the riskiest for pub and restaurant owners, with insurance claims rising over the festive season
  • Pub and Restaurant Owners’ regular insurance policies may not cover some of the things they want to do, such as special events and late licenses
  • Brokers should get in touch with their customers to check that their policies cover all the additional seasonal requirements

With Christmas well on its way, pubs and restaurants are already making plans – additional staff have been called in, extra food and drink ordered and special seasonal events arranged. However, without adequate planning, a spectre at the feast could well be a lack of sufficient insurance cover.

Many pub and restaurant owners may unwittingly not be insured for the coming festive celebrations, as the demands of the Christmas season may well go beyond the existing cover they have in place. Extended opening hours, special events, temporarily extended capacity, and failing to take adequate fire safety precautions can all impact the cover provided by their policy.

Festive insurance checklist:

  • Cash handling: There will be increased cash on the premises especially around the tills. Owners may want to organise extra trips to the bank and install additional CCTV for security.
  • Recruitment: Additional bar, waiting or security staff may be required. If possible, try to use trusted individuals with whom you have worked before.
  • Health and safety: Check that you have capacity for additional food storage. If you’re handling more food, this might also take you beyond your policy.
  • Late licences: If you’re organising special events, you may need late licences. Your policy may not provide cover for this.

“It’s very important to make sure you’re still covered for the things you’ll need,” says Karen Dobinson, Small Business Underwriting Manager at Zurich. “For example, if you’re running special events, you may have to apply for a late licence. While a policy may allow for some late licences, it may not cover as many as you need.”

Increased risks

Customers who are hosting festive events over the next few months will need to ensure they have sufficient insurance, as risks can increase dramatically over the Christmas season.

More customers can mean a greater risk of general accidents, slips, trips and falls, especially when you consider the weather may be at its coldest and most hazardous. Additional security and catering staff may also be required, some of whom are likely to make simple, but costly mistakes.

Finally, all this extra activity may require additional health and safety measures and training for new staff members.

“If possible,” Karen advises, “businesses should try to retain temporary staff on a year-to-year basis for the festive season, such as students returning to work during the holidays. They will be more reliable, better trained and more trustworthy.”

Dedicated cover

Like other peak trading months for entertainment venues, Christmas emphasises the need for special insurance cover for this sector, such as Zurich’s dedicated pub and restaurant insurance product. The policy is flexible enough to cover the additional demands of the festive period, such as freezer contents, late night licences and outside catering.

If you’re running special events, you may have to apply for a late licence. While a policy may allow for some late licences, it may not cover as many as you need

Karen Dobinson, Small Business Underwriting Manager at Zurich

“We always ensure our products remain in the top quartile of the market,” Karen adds.

Such are the demands placed on pub and restaurant owners during Christmas, that it can be all too easy to forget simple things such as insurance. Brokers can help protect their customers by getting in touch, and checking their current insurance policies are suitable for their festive plans.

If not, then now is the time to arrange affordable cover and ensure that your customers are not underinsured at Christmas.

Image © Getty

For more information, get in touch

Karen Dobinson | SME Product Underwriting Manager | 01489 864838

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